John Oliver on Quotes
John Oliver goes off on bad quotations:
One thing he doesn’t mention, however, are quotation websites, which are notoriously unreliable. (I won’t provide any links because I don’t want to drive traffic to them.) Rule of thumb: if the specific source of the quotation is not given, down to the page number, don’t trust that it is correct.
Interactive Guide to Ambiguous Grammar
If you’re not familiar with McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, you should be. This particular column takes on the passive voice and other modes of ambiguous grammar.
I particularly like the “past exonerative tense.”
[Tip o’ the hat to Matt Sergi for pointing this one out to me.]
I Could Care Less
When Not to Correct People’s English
No comment necessary…
Internet Quotes: Langland on the Decline of English
I’ve come across the following quotation in a number of places, such as this article from The Economist:
There is not a single modern schoolboy who can compose verses or write a decent letter.
The quotation is attributed to William Langland, author of Piers Plowman, who died in 1386. The problem is that I could only find the quotation in modern translation and it sounds distinctly un-Middle Englishy, so I doubted that it was authentic. Because I could only find it in translation, tracking it down was difficult—it’s hard to search for a Middle English quotation if you don’t have the Middle English diction. It turns out that the quote is genuine, but it is a rather free translation.Read the rest of the article...
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